The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA

Kellogg MBA Recommendation Questions

The Northwestern MBA application is live for the Class of 2027 — meaning that the Kellogg MBA recommendation questions for the 2024-2025 admissions season are now available to recommenders of Northwestern / Kellogg MBA applicants.

Applicants are asked to submit two recommendations from individuals who can objectively assess and speak directly about their professional experience and leadership promise. Recommenders are asked to provide background information about their relationship with the applicant, rate them on a series of leadership-related skills and qualities, and briefly respond to four questions about constructive feedback and how the applicant compares to others. It is preferred that one recommendation come from a current supervisor, but if that is not possible, the application provides a drop-down with several options to note why.

2024-2025 Northwestern / Kellogg MBA Recommendation Questions

Recommender Information

Context of Relationship:

  • Current Direct Supervisor
  • Current Skip-level Supervisor
  • Board Member
  • Client
  • Colleague
  • Former Supervisor
  • Project Manager
  • University/Academic
  • Extracurricular/Community
  • Other

Highest Degree Earned:

  • No Degree in Higher Education
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Master’s Degree
  • JD
  • MBA
  • MD
  • Doctoral Degree
  • Other

Are you a Kellogg Alumnus?

Have known candidate since:

Please comment briefly on the context of your interaction with the applicant and his/her role in your organization. (250 characters)

What has been the candidate’s most significant contribution to your organization? Provide measurable impact if applicable. (250 characters)

Leadership Assessment

Listed below you will find a section listing some competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership. For each item, please select the response corresponding to the behavior that the candidate most typically exhibits. Your candid, honest appraisal of the candidate will be helpful to the Admissions Committee.

Please assess the candidate on the following skills/qualities.

Results Orientation

  • Invents and delivers best-in-class standards and performance
  • Introduces incremental improvements to enhance business performance using robust analysis
  • Exceeds goals and raises effectiveness of organization
  • Overcomes obstacles to achieve goals
  • Fulfills assigned tasks
  • No Basis

Strategic Orientation

  • Implements a successful strategy that challenges other parts of the company or other players in the industry
  • Develops insights or recommendations that have shaped team or department strategy
  • Develops insights or recommendations that have improved business performance
  • Identifies opportunities for improvement within area of responsibility
  • Understands immediate issues of work or analysis
  • No Basis

kellogg mba recommendation questions

Team Leadership

  • Recruits others into duties or roles based on insight into individual abilities; rewards those who exceed expectations
  • Actively engages the team to develop plans and resolve issues through collaboration; shows how work fits in with what others are doing
  • Solicits ideas and perspectives from the team; holds members accountable
  • Assigns tasks to team members
  • Avoids leadership responsibilities; does not provide direction to team
  • No Basis

Influence and Collaboration

  • Builds enduring partnerships within and outside of organization to improve effectiveness, even at short-term personal cost
  • Brings others together across boundaries to achieve results and share best practices
  • Generates support from others for ideas and initiatives
  • Engages others in problem solving
  • Accepts input from others
  • No Basis


  • Presents views clearly; solicits opinions and concerns; discusses them openly
  • Presents views clearly and demonstrates understanding of the response of others
  • Presents views clearly and in a well-structured manner
  • Is generally to the point and organized
  • Sometimes rambles or is occasionally unfocused
  • No Basis

Information Seeking

  • Involves others who would not normally be involved including experts or outside organizations; may get them to seek out information
  • Does research by making a systematic effort over a limited period of time to obtain needed data or feedback
  • Asks a series of probing questions to get at the root of a situation or problem
  • Personally investigates problems by going directly to sources of information
  • Asks direct questions about problem at hand to those individuals immediately available
  • No Basis

Developing Others

  • Inspires and motivates others to develop by providing feedback and identifying new growth opportunities as well as supporting their efforts to change
  • Gives specific positive and negative behavioral feedback and provides unfailing support
  • Gives specific positive and negative behavioral feedback to support the development of others
  • Points out mistakes to support the development of others
  • Focuses primarily on own abilities
  • No Basis

Change Leadership

  • Builds coalition of supports and coordinates change across multiple individuals; may create champions who will mobilize others to change
  • Promotes change and mobilizes individuals to change behavior
  • Defines positive direction for change and persuades others to support it
  • Challenges status quo and identifies what needs to change
  • Accepts status quo; does not see the need for change
  • No Basis

Respect for Others

  • Uses understanding of others and self to resolve conflicts and foster mutual respect
  • Is respectful to all and generous with praise; ensures other opinions are heard
  • Is humble and respectful to all
  • Generally treats others with respect; usually shares praise and credit
  • Is sometimes self-absorbed or overly self-interested
  • No Basis


  • Is reliable and authentic even at some personal cost; works to ensure all members of the organization operate with integrity
  • Is reliable and authentic even at some personal cost; acts as a role model for the values of the organization
  • Acts consistently with stated intentions even in difficult circumstances
  • Generally acts consistently with stated intentions
  • Shows occasional lapses in trustworthy behavior
  • No Basis

Based on your professional experience, how do you rate this candidate compared to her/his peer group?

  • The best I’ve encountered in my career
  • Outstanding (Top 5%)
  • Excellent (Top 10%)
  • Very good (well above average)
  • Average
  • Below Average
  • No Basis

If needed, please explain any rankings above. (250 characters; optional)

Do you recommend this candidate for Kellogg?

  • Recommend the candidate
  • Recommend the candidate with reservations
  • Do not recommend the candidate

Are you willing to speak with an admissions officer about this candidate?

Recommendation Letter

After completing the assessment section above, recommenders are presented with the following Kellogg MBA recommendation questions for upload:

  1. Kellogg has a diverse student body and values students who are inclusive and encouraging of others with differing perspectives and backgrounds. Please tell us about a time when you witnessed the candidate living these values. (300 words)
  2. How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)
  4. (Optional) Is there anything else you would like us to know?